21st February 2024

Shoe Buttons.

Pictures thanks to Carol.

Above: vegetable ivory with pin shanks and with MOP inserts.

Above: MOP and unknown materials.

Above: glass with both pin-shank and inserted wire shanks.

Shoe and boot buttons, usually dome-shaped, were often made of  papier-maché, soaked in linseed oil, baked then laquered, giving the appearance of wood. The box on the right is labelled ‘paper’.

They were also made of other materials, including jewelled examples. A button hook was essential for pulling the button through the material of the boots. I have found “glass shoe buttons” advertised as early as 1840.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 10th August 1840 page 3. From a list of items for auction.

They were sewn onto both leather and fabric-topped shoes and boots. Black and white colours were the most common, but coloured varieties were also made. By the 1930s the old fashioned button-up boots were for the most part long gone, although buttoned slippers, and ladies fashion ankle boots with one or two decorative buttons were advertised. Things were described as ‘outdated as button-up boots’.

The Dawn (Sydney), 1st February 1898 page 11.

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney) 4th January 1902 page 19.

The World News (Sydney), 6th June 1914 page 11.

Sunday Times (Perth), 8th October 1916 page 11.

See http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/22nd-september-2021/

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